Friday, 29 August 2014

Living in Your Own Little World

Some people seem to be selectively deaf, blind, and mute. Selectively. They hear, see, and say what they like and want, but ignore the other part, that does not sit well with them. The latest example pertaining to game journalism, if we can even call it journalism at this point, is the opinion piece Chris Plante posted over at Polygon. I do not intend to link to it, as it is so biased piece of work you could make a circle out of it, and I am not inclined in giving them a single grain of traffic.

If the only conclusion on the whole affair surrounding Quinnspiracy you can make, is that gamers are awful people that threat other people, and hack accounts, then we got a serious problem. Not with the gamers, but with your cognitive abilities. Just to make it clear, anyone who made any kind of threats is an idiot, and I believe authorities are able to handle those few cases on their own. But, and this is the problem I mean to address in one of the future posts, we are dealing with broad generalisation here. That by itself is fallacy of composition.

Just because one gamer made threats, does not mean all gamers are terrorists. Just as, I am sure, reasonable people will agree that because one Jew is a terrorists, does not mean all Jews are terrorists. You got that? We all understand what fallacy of composition is now? Good, then let us avoid it in the future and move on.

Next on the list we have the straw-man arguments. These are used to divert the subject to something that has nothing to do with the original argument. Great example is how Plante tries really hard to change the outrage of the community over lack of integrity among game journalists, into something more insidious like sexism, and misogyny. All with the help of those who made threats. You see, this is why you do not make threats. They are not effective, and ultimately will only hurt your own side in the argument. If you don't like something, argue about it in the intelligent manner befitting a homo sapiens sapiens.

The rest of the article only goes downhill. More than the opinion, it reads like a piece of propaganda, I thought nothing could be worse than Communist Manifesto, but this takes the cake. The author is trying to show his readers what monsters we gamers really are, how we refuse to accept that "No longer are games designed, marketed and sold to a niche group of young men." At idiocies like these, I would just like to say: "There, I am done. The man did all the work for me." But unfortunately I cannot. Because it seems that if you let the harpy scream, it will eventually garner the attention it craves. So you need to shoot down the harpy at the first sight, because you will not be able to outshout it.

We all know that the group of people playing games is evergrowing. I do not intend to spend time on deliberating who is and who is not a gamer, and what qualifies whom to be considered a gamer. I would like to think that we as entity that form gamers are inclusive folk. I am sure there are jerks and idiots among us as well. But, they are just vocal minority. And this is the prime reason why I am so bothered with the things those opinion makers, that love to moniker under the name of journalism, have to say. Half of what they say is misguided, the other half full of lies. Do I need to spell out that not all of us are terrorists, if any?

Next time you see an idiot harassing someone, or making threats, just know this: He might be a gamer. But he is not a jerk because he is a gamer. Him or her being a gamer has nothing to do with him/her being a jerk. Those two things just happen to coincide. There is no actual correlation between them.

The problem in this whole debate is that one side is actively trying to mix two different things together in order to create easy target to counter, while the other side is at times willingly playing that game and shooting at the easiest target with hate speech and misogyny. The journalists would really love to avoid talking about their responsibilities, and would much rather write about how intolerant and bigoted gamers really are. These are easy targets, it is far easier to judge, than letting others judge you. And shame on those gamers who let themselves get caught in those traps.

It seems the so called journalists still refuse to see the Truth in the eyes. It is not we the gamers who are throwing, as Plante says, a temper tantrum in a grocery store. It is not we who have to grow up, get serious. Certainly a portion of those gamers do. Certainly. But the reality check is here for the so called journalists who need to decide where exactly they stand in this whole debate. Will they get some spine one of these days and distance themselves from the game developers, or will they continue to mislead the consumers, and share the bed with the developers. The real, and metaphorical one.

Because if they are so certain they can just shrug us off, write it off as if a spoilt child is throwing a temper tantrum than they seriously miscalculated. They are patronising us. Thinking we will eventually just forget about it, because at the end of the day, they hold all the keys to the fortress.

Well, bring it on. Give us a reason to make those reviews on Steam into something more. Give us a reason to pay attention to streamers and youtubers even more than we already do. Sure, even among them there is to be a rotten apple, but at least they are not patronising us. Game journalists seem to be oblivious of their own insignificance. They seem to think that the Damocles's Sword above their head is their just for decoration. They do not seem to understand what the sword represents. Fine. The sword will fall, and they will be history. Even Damocles had more salt than those leeches.

The game journalists have failed to realise that in the whole equation it is them who are disposable. It is them, who can be replaced. It is certainly not us, the gamers. We are an entity too organic, too big, too disorganised. We are the consumers, which makes us inherently needed. It is certainly not game developers. They make the games we want. Those two factions are both required. The only faction in the whole equation that can be disposed are the game journalists. They are the middle-man. And when they fail to bring the wanted results to the both sides, they will be replaced. Once the gamers in general start to ignore what game journalism has to say, the journalists will roam to the dumping ground of history. There they can reminisce how much good they did in the name of the coin instead for their readership.

UPDATE: After I have already written this, I stumbled on the post made by Cynical Brit putting all the raging that is going on these days in some semblance of a frame. I highly recommend you to read it, as it tries to explain what the gist of it really is. Also, the man is far more eloquent than me.

#JournalisticIntegrity #Quinnspiracy #Gaming

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Something Rotten in the Land of Game Journalism

Three days wearing toga from morning to sunset in order to honour 2000th anniversary of our beautiful capital, and I almost missed the clusterfuck that hit the fan last week over the pond. I apologise for the language in advance, but we have to call the manure by its name. As it turns out, we already have enough liars, hypocrites, and people of questionable morals and ethics that plague the game industry. No need for me to wrap it in a nice paper just for the sake of appearance. If you ask me, a thorough purge should be in order, as it seems these esteemed "journalists" are a disgrace for that calling. Even sophists of old had more spine than any of the snakes directly connected with the affair called Zoe Quinn.

I tried to stay away from the similar topics for quite some time now. Believe me, I had much to say, but it would be mostly the things I already said. And since I still recall the last lashing I got because I dared say that quality should be more important than quantity, and that personal agenda should have nothing to do with games I decided to pass until now on these topics.
Cynical Brit, and Internetaristocrat explain the whole fiasco very well. Internetaristocrat even has a follow-up. So I will just focus on the integrity of people involved in this scandal, that most gaming websites seem to treat like some sort of taboo.

Fuck them all!

I am sick and tired of all the white knights of internet ridden by imaginary guilt and all the radical feminists because of which feminism lost its relevance in the modern age. They make me sick and tired. I find it disgusting how they always try to find some dirt where there is none to find. I find it tiresome how they actively push their agenda of hatred, and try to besmirch anyone who dares to question their motives, or God forbid, their methods. I am sick of them. And I had enough. Those people do not know what it means to have a normal conversation, they do not understand how argumentation works, they have no idea what discussion is. They just scream over anyone saying anything sensible like a flock of maddened harpies.

But they are not the real problem in this matter. Without someone to focus their ire they are just a bunch of toothless rabid dogs who try to howl at the moon but no sound beside weird gurgling comes out of their mouths. Like the maddened sons of Lycaon. The real problems are those that give them imaginary cause to rally behind. Those people, the journalists, are not doing it because they believe in the cause, but because they have their own agenda and profit from doing it. White knights are just the mindless mob they direct in any direction they want.

I am all for equality of men and women. (you see that sentence. It makes me sick that I even need to write it down in order for white knights not to get any additional ideas. Equality is where I come from the default, not a bonus content you need to mark in order to get, fees included.)
But that has nothing to do with games. What equal representation? A Game, just like a book, a film, a picture, a statue or any other piece of art should never be subjected to the notion of political correctness. Can you imagine someone coming to Michelangelo and saying: Hey man, why did you make David a man? You need to make Davida now. And when he does, they accuse Michelangelo of sexism. Simply because Davida is as nude as David. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

When it comes to games I want as realistic characters in games as possible. And I want those characters to actually serve the story and the game. But what I do not want, is that you bring in your personal shit into my pastime. Your political agendas, leave them out!

If you want politics in games, make a game where politics is integral. Make a game based on Plato's State, Machiavelli's Ruler, Caesar's Gallic War, or even Orwell's 1984. When we talk politics in game, I want those politics to actually be relevant to the game. Like Papers Please or Democracy series. Everything has its time and place, and people need to learn where that time and place is.

I do not care who Zoe Quinn fucked in order to get a good review for her game. I do not care if she fucked 3, 5, or 100 different people. That is not my problem. For all I care, she can fuck all the people she wants, can, and they are willing. What I do care, is when Zoe's fuckers come to be the same people that review her game. That is a personal bias right there, and any sensible person should distance itself right away.

I understand that developers will stop at nothing to promote their game. They are the devil whispering in your ear, snake convincing you to take that apple. And that is why game journalists should keep their distance. Act like stoics, like a fucking rock. Like Caesar divorcing Pompeia after a man was caught who wanted to seduce her. Caesar did not divorce because of infidelity, but because of integrity. As he said, his wife ought not even to be under suspicion. This is the integrity I come to expect from journalism. If they feel even slightly compromised, they should distance themselves from the matter by themselves.

I really do not care how many lies Zoe Quinn told her boyfriend. That is on her conscience, and him for putting up with her lies. What I have problem with is, that Zoe Quinn actually destroyed lives of the innocent people, who did nothing wrong and had only best intentions for the game's industry, like those who tried to organise Polaris Game Jam. I have a problem with it because it shows the nepotism going around in game's industry.

We all know the gaming industry is not perfect. Far from it. It probably has more flaws than merits, but we still endure because of the love we have for the medium. But this shit needs to stop, and all major gaming websites shutting the debate, ignoring it, and banning anyone daring to say something are just treating the problem as something that will go away. That is plain wrong. It only shows how deep the problem goes. How rotten every single of those "journalists" are. I got a bone to pick with those "journalists" as they actually allowed their integrity, if they ever had any, get in question. Any work, review, analysis, or critique they ever did is now under a question. They had sex with Zoe, what else did the get from other game developers?

It is obvious we cannot trust these people anymore. I do not know how other people deal with liars, but in my eyes, they lose all credibility once caught. They are hypocrites, and while we are talking about hypocrites, one of the men Zoe Quinn slept with is Nathan Grayson, the very same one who wrote his critique of how Blizzard treats women. The very same who reviewed Quinn's game, the very same Grayson who tore Game Jam's organisers to pieces, because of Quinn's accusations of sexism. He called one of the organisers in his article, a misogynist. Now let us examine Grayson for a bit.

Morally ambiguous? Unethical? Corrupt? Unprofessional? Crooked? Those are just some of the words we could pin on Grayson when it comes to his work as a professional games "journalist". He is a sellout. He has no integrity, no honesty, no face. He is the Brutus of game journalism, stabbing the knife in the back of the gamers who relied on him. And the man has no fucking idea what misogyny is.

You don't get to ascribe a new meaning to the word just because it suits you. Misogyny is hatred of women. Nothing more, nothing less. If you hate a woman because she is a liar, a hypocrite, and a manipulator, that is not misogyny. If you hate a certain woman because she ruined your whole event because she got greedy, and then got her cronies on your back, that is not misogyny either. Misogyny is when you hate that woman, because she is a woman, not because of the things she did to you.

 As I see it, there is only one solution available. None of these hypocrites will lose their job. They will still continue to do what they do best, sell their readership to the highest bidder. They only care for themselves. And since we don't punish liars like they used to, cutting their tongues out, we have different measures. For starters, kill the interest. Do not allow them to further their twisted agendas. Because it became obvious they are not doing it out of goodness of their heart, but because they profit from it.

It became apparent through this that game journalists are corrupt individuals with no remorse. Instead of putting on a sackcloth and sitting in ashes, repenting and begging for our forgiveness they show no pity, no shame for their actions. Instead they try to silence anyone questioning their integrity, banning people, and in general putting the whole matter under a rug. You know what, if they want so much to silence us, then they can go fuck themselves. They seem to be doing it on regular basis anyway. I will just get my reviews from the sources I know I can trust instead. They might not have the same reach as Polygon, Rock, Paper, Shotgun or Kotaku, but they at least have integrity.

Seriously, how low did the game journalism fall when 4chan is one of the few beacons of integrity?

#Corruption #ZoeQuinn #GameJournalism

Monday, 25 August 2014

Hearthstone: The Frostwyrm Lair

Finally we got the last wing of Naxxramas. Now, it is back to usual. And I must say, the usual is pretty good for what I care. This week we had to face the two bosses of Frostwyrm Lair, Sapphiron, and Kel'Thuzad. I loved the mechanics presented, because there are actual phases with Kel'Thuzad, and adventurers trapped in ice in the fight with Sapphiron.

The Normal Mode was one of the most enjoyable so far. At at start of the fight with Sapphiron, you get an ice block in which a random adventurer is encased. Your goal, is to hide your own minions behind that frozen adventurer. The minions that are not adjacent to that said adventurer get destroyed. Kel'Thuzad has an armour on the start, and will change his ability once the armour is gone. The fights are entertaining, and my Paladin deck did not have any trouble with it.

The Class Challenge this week was Paladin. Although it was last it was a bit weak in my opinion. I finished it in the first try, but I think the deck they give you relies too much on luck. Other class challenges had actually well thought-out decks, and in comparison to those this Paladin deck falls a bit short.

Lastly we have the Heroic Mode. I managed to defeat Sapphiron with a this Hunter deck. I still struggle with Kel'Thuzad. I think Kel'Thuzad will join the bosses from Military, and Plague Quarters as one of the five I will face some time down the line.

But I am still not convinced with Naxxramas overall. It costs too much for what it has to offer. Aside from the class and Naxxramas cards it has no meaning. There is little point in going against all those bosses once you already beat them. When you play against other players, you at least get gold every third game you win. When you play the Naxxramas you get nothing but empty satisfaction that you beat them. There is card back that unlocks once you defeated all the bosses on Heroic, but after you have done so, you have nothing of worth to do in Naxxramas. At least if you expect to get something for the time invested.

That brings me to my next point. Naxxramas is just a diversion from the real game. You cannot complete most of the daily quests in Naxxramas, you do not earn any gold, and all the cards you get from Naxxramas were already payed for. Dearly. In essence, when you get those class and Naxxramas specific cards, you are simply unlocking what you already bought. It is just that what you bought, was hidden behind a barrier in form of the bosses you had to defeat in order to get what should already be rightfully yours. But then again, it would be weird getting nothing in return if you already got all the cards so I understand Blizzard's angle here.

That said, the expansion still costs too much. 22€ or 3500 gold for any newcomer's is painfully expensive for an adventure with 15 different fights you will probably fight only once on each difficulty because there is no point in doing it after you already got everything that you could get. As Einstein said, doing the same thing again and again with the expectation of a different result is the mark of insanity.

#Naxxramas #Hearthstone #FrostwyrmLair

Friday, 22 August 2014

Creating a Character You Will Want To Play

Imagine you are creating a character in a roleplaying game. It can be a videogame, but the idea will work better if we all imagine a character meant for tabletop game. After all, that way your hands are not so tied, as they would, could, or are in a computer game.

Now that you have that character in mind, no matter what setting, you need to actually start filling in the blanks. Who is it? What does it do? Why does it do it? Those and question similar to these always arise and demand answer, but in order to create a character you must have some concept or preconception of the character already in mind. A stereotype if you will, like a paladin, a warrior, a mage, or a rogue. We all know what each of these does. The picture is rather clear, and what we need to do next is find the equivalent of what we want to play in the setting we have available.

You don't want to overdo it. If your group is playing post-apocalyptic sci-fi like Apocalypse World, say goodbye to your regular classes. You will have totally different concept available, and thus if you want to play an equivalent of mage, you will need to bend the definition of the mage in the first place. You will need to discover for yourself how far from your preconceived image you are willing to depart. You might end up as the Brainer, or the Hocus. If you wanted to be a Paladin, you might end up as the Battlebabe, the Gunlugger, the Hardholder or the Chopper. Someone who wanted to be a Rogue might end up as the Skinner, the Battlebabe or even the Gunlugger. Because in that particular setting the Battlebabe who decides to follow the path of righteousness will play radically different than the one that goes and murders any and everyone just for lulz. Both ways are viable, but they bring totally different results.

And yes, you can end up as the righteous Battlebabe that still kills everyone. Just ask some of my friends. They could tell you horror stories of one single Battlebabe deciding to take care of the corrupt sheriff and ending with the entire town blown up. By accident I might add, but nobody would believe me.

Now that we established that if you know what you want to play, you can go a long way, we need to make sure you fill in the blanks. First, describe your appearance, what do you have in pockets, and what weapon do you use. Now, explain why you have all those things, how you got them, and are they of any special value to you? Maybe you have your mentor's dagger, if so what happened to the mentor? I see you have really ragged pair of boots on you? How come? Did somebody rob you? Or did you lose a bet?

In many cases, what you describe from the very start can serve in creating your backstory. You need to remember that time goes in both ways. Backward and forward, and your ground zero is that very moment of creation. For the megalomaniacs among you, this could be the closest you will ever come to being a god. You are creating someone.

You know how people say all the fighters are the same, just like they would be talking about manufactured guns? Well, give those guns to the soldiers, and after they are done with it, not one gun will be the same. Every soldier will tell you how his own gun is different than all the other guns. It has a notch here, it doesn't overheat, it doesn't jam, it will jam at every 27th round. For them their guns are more than just simple tools. Make the same for your character, make it your own.

Also, avoid perfect life. We are all humans, and what we love the most is seeing others suffer. Just ask the ancient Greeks. Tragedy is cathartic because you get to experience somebody else fall to ruin. It is for the same reason that we enjoy chasing our dreams as much as we do, always in search of a better life. We could call it natural human condition. So, no perfect life for your characters. If you cannot have one, no reason for them. Make them suffer, make them feel pain, loss, and agony. And then make them persevere, make them live through it all, make your creation into restless juggernaut of school of hard knocks.

Essentially, don't hold back on the drama. The more the merrier.

Also, when you detect a trope in your character, either embrace it or try to iterate on in. There is no reason why you should lose sleep just because you created what was already created before. Great minds think alike, instead of hating it learn from it, and adapt as necessary.

I hope this helps some of you, and inspires the others to try your hand at some roleplaying game. Before I end, I would like to recommend Apocalypse World to everyone. It's not your generic fantasy setting, encourages the actual roleplaying of the character you created, and rewards the interaction between the players, the world you created, and players themselves. Same goes for anything with the label powered by the apocalypse.

Also, my GM wanted to add a thing: Make your character human, he says. (It can be elf, orc, or dwarf if you want, but make him/her of flesh and blood)

#RPG #CharacterCreation #Tabletop

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Lords of War – Shattered Hand and Kargath Bladefist

I always saw Kargath as a lunatic. He was crazy, but he was not anything really special. I mean, the man cut off his arm and replaced it with a blade. And then, he did the same with the second hand as well. One cannot but wonder if he didn't cut off his other arm in his sleep, when he tried to roll over on the other side, or maybe it was a pesky mosquito getting on his nerves. Imagine going to the bathroom, and having two long knives attached to your arms, where hands used to be. The handless, but bladeful orc did not have an easy life up to that point, but this story of Maraad made it possible for us to actually understand who, and what Kargath Bladefist was.

Kargath was either born as slave, or was enslaved as youth. We could speculate, but when you think of it, both options are tragic. As he grew up, he fought in the arena as gladiator. For entertainment of the ogres he was forced to fight other orcs. Life was not easy. And there was a promise of freedom. Kill hundred men, and you are free. I would dare say this makes Kargath at least as skilled as Thrall, if not more. There is the always going to be a debate about which is more skillful, to wound or to kill, but I would go with Kargath on this one.

Unlike Thrall, who escaped from slavery, Kargath sacrificed his own hand to overthrow the ogre slave masters. Mere hand is nothing in comparison with freedom, and yet most would probably think twice before cutting off their hand with a possibly sharp stone. This is the action that made others follow him. They could see he is setting himself as an example. Kargath would never ask of others something he could not, or would not do himself.

And unlike other orcish clans which have strong familial bonds, Shattered Hand has nothing. The only connection they have is their devotion to Kargath. The only thing in common they have is their dissatisfaction with the world. Members of the Shattered Hand clan are all grizzled veterans of life who know no mercy. They will not stop to think about their actions, because from experience they know waiting is what kills you in the end.

Shattered Hand is probably the only orcish clan who has every right to take vengeance on everyone. Even the draenei. Some will say that draenei had nothing to do with the ogres, and they could be right. It is obvious orcs were unable to do much, after all they were slaves. Even the clans could not do much against the ogre empire. It took the institution of Warchief and gathering of all the clans to repel the ogres last time they did it, and there certainly was no warchief around now. On other hand, there were no draenei slaves.

Draenei who settled on the Draenor chose to be the part of this world. They settled on it, and they lived there for quite some time. And all that time they simply watched what went on, deciding not to choose sides, acting only when they saw fit, and it was for their own good. This is far from the noble picture of Draenei we know. It shows draenei as hypocrites. They would fight the demons without pause, but to meddle with their own world, try to bring it to some semblance, that is out of the question. Their reclusiveness is what made the orcs attack them the first time around.

You have this strange tentacled creatures with hooves who live all by themselves in large cities and temples they built. They never fought with you, but they never extended the offer of assistance against other threats either. And now, the spirits are telling your people that draenei plan to eradicate your people. You have faced ogres, and they are just strong and mighty. But here in draenei you have an enemy that has better equipped military, as well as technology on its side. The only thing you have is a surprise attack.

But we need to take Velen in consideration. The old man has visions. He probably knew all about it even before it happened. So why did he let it happen? Was this the necessary evil in order to win the battle against the Burning Legion that would be fought decades later? Maybe. If we look at how draenei reacted when they crashed on Azeroth it could be a real possibility. Draenei on Azeroth did not waste time, they did not stand for themselves like they did on Draenor, they meddled, they became active participants. And that is scary. It is scary because that would mean, that all the lost lives, every single victim orcs killed on their rampage is on Velen's hands, because he knew and did nothing. Well, he did something. He willingly sacrificed all those people in order to win a battle decades later.

But we are getting sidetracked. The original Kargath lived long life of war, and fought for various overlords, generals and warchiefs. He met his end in Hellfire Citadel drunk on the haze of demon blood. He probably never cared much for who he fought as long as there was worthy enemy to fight against. Kargath's legacy in form of Shattered Hand lives on in the Horde though. Under Thrall's command Shattered Hand became Horde's clan of assassins, taking care of all young rogues, making sure they serve the warchief.

Also, Maraad is a lefthander, and Kargath has only one arm left to write with (for now). Can we please choose our main hand already?

#LordsOfWar #Kargath #WoW

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hearthstone: The Construct Quarter

Just one more week and we are back to the "old" "boring" Hearthstone. Now, that is not true, and as the time flies I am coming to realisation that no matter how much fun Naxxramas can be, at the end it is a simple distraction from the regular game. To be honest that is a shame, but then again, there really is no enjoyment to play against AI once you have already beaten it. There is no reason to play on Heroic mode because there is no reward beyond your personal satisfaction, but with the current state of Heroic, the satisfaction is rather minuscule in comparison to the time and effort invested.

This week the last of the four quarters was released, the Construct Quarter. From my days in World of Warcraft I remember this quarter as one of my personal favourites. Mostly because I played Paladin, and had a Divine Shield ready for all the jumps in the green river of poison and ooze that drove healers insane in the time between boss fights. I always loved being the one that took care of his own health. There was a certain pride in not being a bother to your group of healers. Another reason for why I loved Naxxramas is because it was filled with the undead. An army of undead back in the days meant that a Retribution Paladin could really shine as a DPS. We were fighting handicapped against anything that was not undead or demons.

In general though, I am getting the feeling Blizzard is betting too much on the nostalgia these days. That is seen in next World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, as much s in Hearthstone, and still in alpha Heroes of the Storm. They are spending too much reminiscing how much fun the good old days were. They should spend more time creating something new, rather than poking the long dead beast in hopes it will come to life if they only believe in it. Again, their problem. Now let us get to this week's bosses on Normal, Heroic and Class Challenges.

This week's Normal bosses did not make things difficult. All four fell under the might of my good old Paladin deck. I love that deck, and that it was able to take care of all four bosses without trouble means a lot to me. The Class Challenges were once again a bit of a pang, reminding me that the Paladin card will be the last one to unlock. On the other hand, heroes are supposed to come late, and coming to the party last, and facing Kel'thuzad indicates the hero status of Paladins. I can live with that.

Once again, Warrior and Priest fights were both easy enough. Fun and entertaining fights, and this is probably the only aspect of Naxxramas I find myself facing ever again after I beat it completely. One more detail. In Warcraft lore, Paladins came to be from Warriors who wanted to heal, and Priests who wanted to fight with soldiers wearing heavy armour. Another hint on the coming of the Paladins next week? Maybe. I will let you decide.

As for the Heroics, this is the first week after the Arachnid that I managed to clear it fast enough before I lost all will and interest for various reasons. Last couple of bosses from Plague and Military quarter could tell a few tales about that. I decided not to muck about and just used the premade decks from hearthpwn. I used Druid for Patchwerk, Priest for Grobbulus, Mage for Gluth, and Warlock for Thaddius. Honestly, it all lies in the timing. If you manage to destroy Patchwerk's, and Gluth's weapons at the right times victory is almost guaranteed. If you have, throw in Harrison Ford, it will be of great help. With Thaddius, your aim should be getting rid of his two helpers, and with Grobbulus it is just about outliving him.

The fights are entertaining, and reminiscent of the old raid fights in World of Warcraft, but I am really afraid that on their own they have nothing to offer. For every fight you need a specific deck built around specific idea. This is not why I play card games. Can you imagine playing poker by insisting to play three deuces all the time and calling all other hands insignificant? To anyone who ever played any card game, that will not be fun, it will be frustrating because it means throwing away so much other possibilities for something that might not happen. And when you play cards, it is about adapting to the situation you have, not the scenario you want it to be.

Well, less than a week, and I will have my Paladin card, and maybe finished Heroic bosses. If I find the will to revisit Military and Plague Quarters.

#Hearthstone #Construct #Naxxramas

Friday, 15 August 2014

Warlords Cinematic, Release Date, and Lefthander Maraad

After all was said and done, we have not learnt much about the Warlords of Draenor on the first day of Gamescom. Nothing really new. Most of it was only recapping what we already knew from Blizzcon without mentioning anything they cut until now. We got to see the cinematic, and could witness the first part of what seems to be an interesting animated series titled Lords of War. I will write about it as it goes on, but aside from that not much actual information. The game will be released on November 13th. This might go very wrong when we take in consideration that 10th anniversary is only a week or so after the release.

Maybe it is just the general disillusionment, but I feel this is their weakest cinematic to date for what concerns World of Warcraft. There is just too much of everything. It wants to be as cinematic as Cataclysm, as deep as Wrath of the Lich King, and as dynamic as Mists of Pandaria. It is too much of everything. And this is why it falls short. They should have decided for one approach, not trying to mash all three different things together and hoping something great would come out. Maybe that is the general impression of Warlords of Draenor as well. Trying to be something that is not. Betting on nostalgia is in my opinion a bad move on the long term.

I mean, something is seriously wrong when Garrosh is able to steal the show by just being Garrosh. That just sounds wrong. Garrosh is being the Garrosh presented in War Crimes, not the douche we had to deal with for more than two years. You know, Garrosh from the books actually has a personality, and is quite charismatic on top of that. Another pet peeve of mine is how they made Grom. Grom was always described as lean, tall, and slender. He was not feared because of his physical prowess. Yes, he was a capable fighter, but it was not the size of his muscles that made him feared even among his own race.

Grom was the devil's incarnate. He was charismatic, his scream could pierce the hearts of his enemies, his skill was close to unrivalled. There were other capable warriors among the orcs, and yet Grom stood out among the best of the best. Because of his personality. It was not flowers and sunshines with Grom, but he was not just a mountain of muscles that did what others told him to. He was ready to sacrifice all for more power, and he was conscious of how high that sacrifice would be. If somebody ever deceived Grom, it was Grom himself.

He was not the calculating mastermind like Gul'dan. No, our good old Grom was genuinly crazy. A sociopath, lunatic, or maniac are just words. They do not even come close to the true extent of what Grom was. In the cinematic though, Grom is just another orcish brute, a neanderthal ready to crack skulls and fight wars. Nothing even close to charismatic about him. Even his presence appears like a show with which he holds other at a distance instead of something that would inspire awe, fear, and respect.

I will discuss Lords of War in the following weeks. Let me just say one thing. Maraad is a LEFTHANDER! Why cannot we be lefthanders in the game? You don't believe me? Take a look at the picture. You still doubt me? Take another look at this video. And before someone tells me I am mistaken, Maraad is a Paladin. That means only things he can hold in his OFF HAND are shields and off-hand items.

In general, I expected the release in November. What I did not expect, especially after the announcement of all that would transpire for the 10th anniversary is that they would release the game just before. It seems like they want people to rush to max level. It does not really affect me in any way. I said it before, I am buying Warlords of Draenor only when new blood elf models, Tanaan, and flying will be in the game. Without that, the expansion might be the greatest there is, but it is not worth the price increase at least in my opinion. Others might disagree.

#WoW #LordsOfWar #WarlordsOfDraenor

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Free Character Recustomisation is a Necessity

With the next expansion we are finally getting new character models. And while we are getting them, Blizzard is trying really hard to convince us, they are making the new models because we wanted them, not because the game is already ten years old and dictates some firm upgrades regarding the player's characters.

Let me set things straight. We, the players want for many things. We want them to nerf mages, buff paladins, I want them to allow me to wield my greatsword in my left hand, and I want new blood elf models available at release. Guess how many of those wishes and wants is Blizzard going to adhere to? None. Why not? Because they do not have the resources. We will leave the blood elves for some other time, it is not like the next expansion will be out by the end of the next month.

It should not come as surprise that what Blizzard does, it does for its own good, and what the playerbase wants rarely plays any role in this. That would be a lie. What playerbase wants does play a significant role, but only when it coincides with the interests of the company. If they were certain they would gain million new players just by giving us option to be left handed, then they would suddenly find the resources to do it. Until something like that is not a guarantee, or it does not at least slow down the perpetual leak of burnt out and disappointed, they will not do it.

Now that we established how Blizzard does business, we can focus at the question at hand. Why do we need a free character recustomisation? Why is it a necessity? And why do we feel entitled to one? Those are all valid questions that demand an honest and valid answer, and I plan to provide one.

Some people might disagree with me. They might even say that we do not need a free character recustomisation because we are already getting the new models. This is circular reasoning. A logical fallacy, and simply because of that already invalid argument, but let us go on. Let us show why this reasoning does not work. I do not want a free character recustomisation because I am not happy with the current look of my character. I want a free character recustomisation because it became obvious that the new models will not be the same as the old. They might fit, but they will not be the same. And because of that, the new face that will come with the new models will never be the same as the one I chose myself.

Some people will still disagree, and say that if we do not like the new models, we can still stick to the old ones. That, I can say is a low blow, and a shortcut for Blizzard we as the community should not be endorsing. After all this is not Blizzard's practise when all other changes to the game were concerned. Good couple of examples would be Talent changes and Cataclysm. Every time they made an overhaul of our talent trees, we never got the option to stick with the old because we do not like the new. It was in the best interest of the game that we all embrace the new talent trees. To cope with change, we got a free talent reset. We did not have to spend any gold for something Blizzard themselves decided to change. And they did this in each expansion as far as my memory goes.

Same with Cataclysm. No matter how much more we loved the old world, how much we wanted for Cataclysm to just go away, we are stuck with it. We do not get to choose, because in Blizzard's opinion once again, this is the best for the game. And I am not going to applaud them for being noble, and finally letting us choose, when there is no real choice. You have three options. Suck it up, pay for character recustomisation because you do not like the new look Blizzard forced upon you, or suffer through and continue to play with the old models. Choices come down to live with it, or pay for it. That is no choice, that is bullying.

Imagine the scenario where instead of character creation when you started to play the game, the game decided instead of you what your character should look like. And the only options you would have was to accept the look, or not play at all. That is not a choice, and Blizzard needs to realise that while it is their game, it is us who play our characters. If they can give a regular face-lift to all their beloved characters on our account, we should at least get the same treatment for our characters.

This is not the case of giving an inch and taking a mile. I am not asking for impossible here. I am asking for what should be, and is in my book rightfully ours to begin with. It is shameful of Blizzard that we must even discuss this after they continue their silent treatment of the topic. This should be openly stated, even other games that updated their models had the same policy, providing the free character recustomisation to their players.

Free character recustomisation is a necessity because no matter how much they try, the characters affected with it will end up being different characters. And if anything can really drive people away from the game, it is the loss of your character, when you start feeling that your character is not yours any more. Not what you played all those years. Not what you created all those years ago. I understand there are people that merrily use the service of character recustomisation because they do not like the look of their characters anymore. And I understand why Blizzard is charging them. After all, it is not Blizzard who is fickle in that scenario, all the blame lies on the player, thus it is sensible to charge the player for the service provided.

This is not the luxury we have with the new models. We are not fickle and indecisive. We actually like the current look of our characters. Yes, we would want the new models, but not at the cost of sacrificing what we came to recognise as our own. And keeping the old models is just a cop-out for Blizzard.

The latest showing of troll models is a perfect example of what I am preaching here. The differences between the old and new models might appear slight, but when expected up close they are enormous. The old troll face had a goofy feeling to it. The new face is simply vicious, predatory, and savage. While this might be more in tune with what the developers always wished for trolls, this might not be what the players who chose that old face wanted from their troll.

I will be the first to agree that even if free character recustomisation is a necessity, it also needs to be limited. It needs to be limiting in order to serve its true purpose, and avoid the chance of it being abused by the players. After all, we are arguing in favour of one free character recustomisation per character, on the basis it would change our original look without our consent. Our aim is not to change race, gender, or name. Just to update the look of our character to reflect our decisions, and not those arbitrarily made by the game itself.

#NewModels #FreeCharacterRecustomisation #WoW

Monday, 11 August 2014

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, And Basic Standards on PC

Some time ago I purchased Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I have been meaning to do so for some time, and Steam Summer Sale proved to be a perfect opportunity, considering I bought it with the money I earned from selling all those silly cards I would never have any use for myself. I call it my way of being prudent. Now, I could be writing hymns to the greatness of the game, singing praises to the idea of telling the story through the game's mechanics, but instead I will use Brothers as a cautionary tale about what should be considered a basic standard on PC.

Unlike some other people, I do not demand perfection, I do not seek excellence if the game was designed with a controller in mind and then ported to PC. I understand that if you bring an old locomotive to the new tracks, that will not make the old locomotive go any faster. I do expect of the locomotive to pull its weight when the tracks fit. What I demand of the game on PC is that if it supports the keyboard, and that it functions with that said keyboard as intended. I know, mindblowing. I will not tolerate a broken game, and I will not be forgiving when I encounter a game that is unplayable because somebody did not bother to check all the controls twice.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

10 Years 10 Questions

World of Warcraft has been on the scene for quite some time now. This November will mark the tenth anniversary of the game. Tenth anniversary that can boast, that after all this time, the game still has close to seven million people subscribed. That is a worthy boast in my opinion, even if I do hope on a regular basis that somebody will come out of the woodwork, and force Blizzard to stop mucking around. Until that day comes, we have ten questions Alternative Chat wants us to answer. If you head over to her blog post, you will find further instructions of how you can take part in this. Seriously, it is easy and entertaining, and who does not like nostalgia? So why don't we just start then?

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
I played Warcraft III and Frozen Throne. I loved it. At first I had difficulty accepting that the orcs were green, eyes of the elves glowed, and that dwarves were using guns, but the concept eventually grew on me. In those two games there were so many memorable moments, like Uther's speech of what makes a Paladin, Arthas's murder of his father, Grom taking on the Cenarius, Thrall and Grom facing Mannoroth, Muradin warning Arthas about the cursed sword for the last time, Garithos's betrayal of the Blood Elves, Arthas's ascension to the Frozen Throne, Sylvanas and her quest for vengeance. I wanted to experience this wonderful world from my own perspective, not through the eyes of the heroes, but as one of the heroes. As one of those nameless soldiers that always stood by their side, and did their job without really getting any of the credit for it.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Hearthstone: The Military Quarter

Another week, another wing of Naxxramas released. It might be too soon to say, but only two more and we will be back to same old same old. In spite of being as pricey as front seat in hell, wings of Naxxramas every week provide us with a distraction from our regular routine. And even though I know that once I finish all the heroic bosses I will not even try to do it again, I will miss new challenges coming at our doorstep every week. It provides us with a different pace of the game, even though I curse at Kel'Thuzad for having only nine deck slots available.

If anything really bothered me from the start with the Military Quarter it is the obvious lack of respect for elders. You see, I have a problem with Baron Rivendare leading the Four Horsemen. He is the Junior. He joined last. He is the replacement for late Alexandros Mograine. And while that does not mean much to those new to Warcraft story, I do have a problem with new guy taking the leadership position of the Four Horsemen. I think the First Horseman, Second, or even the Fourth Horsemen deserve this position much more than Rivendare. There's also the old dispute between Rivendare and me, and his stubbornness of refusing to part with his mount when I won our little duel, for more times than I care to admit. I'll get it one day Rivendare, and then I will let it rot in my stables just to spite you.

It is a skeletal horse, what else can I do with it? It is not like I can bury it...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Power of Transmog: Silvermoon Champion

We have all at one point probably see the intro cinematic of Warcraft III. If you did not, now would be the high time to do so. In it, there is an orc fighting a human on what seems to have been at some other time a peaceful and serene plain that never knew anything about war and the destruction brought by war. What is more, the human is wearing an armour that with time came to be more recognisable as something pertaining to the Alliance than their lion, or even their battlecry.

The armour set that Stormwind Guards continue to use to this day in form of Imperial Plate set, is recognisable as the Alliance at the first sight. And that will continue to be so even in Warlords of Draenor, when the armour set will get much needed face-lift. And if Light has any mercy black/red recolour as well. And so, I decided to put together a set that would look pretty much the same, with the difference that it would be in the colours closer to the Horde, or if that was impossible, at least red and gold, and because it's Silvermoon, it must be majestic. That last, was possible, and what we got ourselves here, is the set fit for any adventurous knight that ever left Silvermoon.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Hearthstone: The Plague Quarter

This week the second wing of Naxxramas was released. Once more we had to deal with the three bosses from a particular Quarter, this time Plague. After that two Class Challenges, and then on top of that the same three bosses on Heroic difficulty. I will say, this week's bosses were tough nut to crack. I am still trying to beat Heigan and Loatheb on Heroic. Mainly because Noth managed to suck all the fun out of it.

My Mage deck was able to clear the first boss after my Paladin and Warlock turned out to be useless against Noth. I cleared Heigan and Loatheb with the help of my Paladin deck. I must admit that I do not really enjoy some of these bosses. I could swear that the game depends much more on sheer luck than it does on the deck you are having. How the game will end depends on what happens to be in your opening hand. If it is a wrong set of cards, you might as well start over. This is especially true on Heroic Mode.

Review: Legionnaire (Galaxy's Edge Book 1)

When Nick Cole, and Jason Anspach started their endeavour of making "Making Star Wars Great Again", over at Galactic Outlaws . I...